There are lot of literary anniversaries this year in Britain, from the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl to the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. You might think those two alone would be enough to satisfy a year's worth of exhibits and special notes at literary landmarks, but there's actually a lot more going on, from a Jane Austen Festival in Bath to a Winnie-the-Pooh-themed exhibit in London. Follow along as we explore more literary destinations connected to auctorial anniversaries.
Bath is beautiful all year round but to see it at its best visit during Jane Austen Festival (9-18 Sep, 2016), which celebrates the author of "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma." The author lived in the city in the early 1800s, and two of her books, "Northanger Abbey" and "Persuasion," are set in Bath. Book lovers, don’t miss The Jane Austen Centre, where guides in period costume explain the effect Bath had on the author and her writing. You can also take a selfie with a waxwork of Jane Austen, and have afternoon tea in the Georgian townhouse’s tearooms.
Roald Dahl—London, Cardiff & Missenden
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of children’s author Roald Dahl, best know for his books "The BFG," "Matilda" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." To honour the author, Aqua Shard is hosting a Roald Dahl-themed afternoon tea (to 30 Sep, 2016). Also in London, see the West End shows based on his books; award-winning "Matilda the Musical" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" are firm favourites.
Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff is hosting "The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl" (to Jan 2017), an interactive exhibition for all ages. Dahl fans can’t miss The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, in Great Missenden village in Buckinghamshire, where the author lived for 36 years.
It’s been 200 years since Charlotte Brontë, the author of novels including “Jane Eyre,” was born. To celebrate, Brontë Parsonage Museum in the author’s childhood village of Haworth in Yorkshire hosts “Charlotte: Great & Small” which runs throughout 2016. You’ll be able to see Brontë’s childhood clothes, miniature books and paintings she created. You can also visit the Heathcliff Mews street sign that inspired her sister Emily to name her romantic hero in "Wuthering Heights".
William Shakespeare—London & Stratford
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, visit “What’s in a Name?” (to 5 Sep, 2016) at the Museum of London, which showcases personal and household objects that were mentioned in his plays. The British Library’s “Shakespeare in 10 Acts” (to 6 Sep) has the Bard’s only surviving handwritten literary manuscript. Serious fans should visit Stratford-Upon-Avon, the town in which the playwright was born. Tour Shakespeare’s Birthplace where the poet spent his childhood and lived with his wife Anne Hathaway. Catch a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre.
Beatrix Potter—London & Cumbria
This year the UK celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, the brains behind the children’s book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” and many more. Start at the Victoria and Albert Museum, housing the world's largest collection of Potter's drawings, literary manuscripts, letters and photographs.
You can also join in the celebrations by visiting her former home, Hill Top, a pretty farmhouse in Cumbria’s Lake District, and learn how the author drew inspiration for her stories from the surrounding countryside. Visit the nearby town of Hawkshead, which is home to the Beatrix Potter Gallery, a 17th-century house that displays the author’s original illustrations.
A A Milne—London & Ashdown Forest
This year, the UK is celebrating the man behind “Winnie-the-Pooh,” Alan Alexander Milne, as 2016 sees the 90th anniversary of the story’s first volume. Fans can see a collection of photographs in the National Portrait Gallery of the author and his son Christopher clutching a toy bear—the original Winnie-the-Pooh. Milne’s stories are set close to the farm where he lived in Ashdown Forest, in East Sussex. Search for Roo’s sandpit, the North Pole and the famous Pooh sticks bridge, which is down a dirt track from Milne’s Cotchford farm.
Dylan Thomas—London, Swansea & Laugharne
If you’ve visited Westminster Abbey, you might have seen the plaque dedicated to Dylan Thomas in Poet’s Corner. Known for his inventive use of words and rhythmic style, Thomas is considered a masterful 20th-century Welsh poet—which is why Swansea has a statue of him. The Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea houses the permanent exhibition, “Love the Words.” You can also take one of the centre’s walking trails further afield, which takes you to the farm he grew up in and a boathouse in Laugharne, where he wrote part of “Under Milk Wood.” The centre hosts the annual Dylan Thomas Festival (27 Oct-9 Nov, 2016).